Societies

A society may be incorporated for any lawful purpose, including charitable, artistic, educational, social, agricultural or sporting purposes.

Opportunities

One of the key benefits of incorporating a society is for economic development to become independent of local government. The goals can become more centric to the greater community, rather than just the local government. It may be more appropriate for economic development to be a community endeavour, rather than a municipal endeavour, as a separate organization fosters partnerships between other organizations.

Another benefit is that organizations could apply for different grants as a separate incorporated society. As a separate entity, continuity of work is enhanced as priorities do not change as much with changes of municipal council. One consideration is whether an incorporated society should be municipal or regional. Another consideration is if it should address tourism or whether the local government should create two distinct societies for economic development and tourism

Limitations 

The society's assets and income must be used to fulfill its purposes. A society may have directors, but share capital is prohibited. Purposes for which a society may be incorporated include (but not limited to), carrying on a business, trade, industry or profession for profit or gain. The community process for starting an incorporated society has been potentially contentious in many regions because of competing stakeholder priorities.. Funding sources will need to be determined - will the organization get full funding from the local government or do they require alternate sources as well? The lack of funding security may create challenges with hiring and retaining employees

How to Proceed

A society may or may not be incorporated. If it is incorporated, the society is a separate legal entity. A municipality can create a society as part of its natural person powers (see Section 8 of the Community Charter) and regional districts can use broad corporate powers (see Section 176 in the Local Government Act). Note the regional district has to be empowered to undertake economic development.